Freshmen Join the Westlake Community

When I first saw the list of all the possible clubs and sports that I could join, all I could say was, “Wow.”

Clubs range from the Art Club, led by Mrs. Frawley; the English Club, led by Ms. Matthews; the Junior Statesmen of America, led by Mrs. Greco and Mr. Laterza; to the Student Council, led by a group of teachers who help represent each grade. The Westlake community also offers sports for all to join. Students join clubs and sports to practice a skill, illustrate their creativity, collaborate with peers, compete, and expand their horizons.

As a newbie to the school, my first instinct was to join every club possible. I thought that when I applied to college, the admissions director would look at my transcript and be blown away by the amount of clubs that I attended.

I made so many plans to join all the clubs I was interested in, until I noticed something: I had an overwhelming workload. My once miniscule amount of homework had tripled. I realized that I did not have time for all the clubs I had wanted to participate in.

As the beginning of October approached, I realized which clubs would be worth my time and which would not. Now all that I am thinking is to get a couple of my friends to join the clubs that I do enjoy. My hope for the end of the year if that I will stick with all my decisions, I won’t back down, and I will make my mark on the Westlake community, along with all of my peers.

 

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Westlake Wants YOU!

After graduating from high school, individuals have freedom. Choices become endless – however, going to college or getting a job immediately demand resumes, which present individuals’ background, skills, interests, and involvement.

Résumés can be used for a variety of reasons, but for teens across America, they are used to apply for employment and college. In order to assure that a resume is complete, it is essential for individuals to build up their own personal job and educational experiences.

Here at Westlake, students have the opportunity to begin building a distinguished resume with their selection of extracurricular activities. Joining clubs is very important, not only do colleges look at this, but in the process, lasting friendships are created, leadership skills are practiced, and fun is had. Clubs and sports are a good way to meet new people because the more friends you have the better! Westlake offers sports in the Fall, Winter, and Spring seasons, and activities throughout the year! Although time management and grit are needed to participate in these sports and clubs, they are well worth it. Regret is never a word that Wildcats say.

Colleges want to see a well-rounded individual who is active, so join two or three clubs or sports teams each year, and stay with them! Commitment is an excellent quality to showcase, and Wildcats are committed to excellence! Remember, Westlake wants YOU!

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Giving a Voice to the Voiceless

Passion is a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, compelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something. Passion is a strong amorous feeling or desire; pass is love. Passion is an outburst expressing intense emotion. However, passion to Gabby Scampone comes in the form of animals.

Society defines a hero as a person admired for his or her brave deeds. Heroes typically receive a lot of publicity for their contributions to society, but this is not always the case. Ordinary people also contribute to society greatly, without receiving the recognition they deserve. Gabby Scampone is one of these unrecognized heroes, fighting for the rights of animals.

“I was born with a passion for animals and ever since I can remember it has become stronger.” Gabby Scampone’s childhood was consumed by her strong feelings towards animals. When she was in eighth grade, she began volunteering at the Nature Center, which she continued for the next three years.  At the Nature Center, Gabby was able to interact with many different animals by cleaning their cages, bathing them, grooming them, feeding them, and providing love and care. Knowing farm animals get slaughtered, Gabby and a group of workers saved a billy goat’s life by rescuing it and bringing it into the Nature Center. From her first save, her connections with animals grew even stronger.

As a teen, you need to become independent, self-directed and financially comfortable in order to do things without your parents’ help. For Gabby to fulfill her needs, she applied to Pet Land.  Knowing that she would be able to not only make money, but most importantly help animals, she took it as a great opportunity.  At her job, she cares for the animals, helps them find a home and educates the public about how to best treat whichever animal they purchase. “Knowing that I’m able to influence a person in saving an animal’s life means a lot to me.” No matter how small or big the animal is Gabby is willing to do whatever it takes to make its life better. She firmly believes in animal rights and will do anything to be their strongest advocate; she even avoids fashion’s latest trends.

Fur coats, UGG boats, and leather jackets play a huge role in the fashion world. Although many people do not view this type of animal use as unethical, Gabby does. “Don’t get me wrong, fur clothing is beautiful, but I care more about the animals and their life than I do about my fashion sense.” Gabby believes that animals deserve the same humane treatment that humans get. She constantly reminds people about the form of abuse that takes place during this process and makes sure she educates as many people as she can.

“Animals can’t stand up for themselves, so people have to protect them, they rely on them.” Gabby sees animal abuse as a chief issue and feels that the only way to protect them is to advocate for them. Since animals cannot speak up for themselves, Gabby gives them a voice. People should put themselves in the animal’s shoes and then ask themselves: “Would I like it if someone left me out in the cold and didn’t feed me?” The compassion visible here will continue to follow Gabby throughout life.

Just a few days ago, Gabby rescued a liter of six kittens. She wasn’t able to keep any since her father is highly allergic to them, so she decided to give them away. The last thing she wanted to do was give them to the shelter, so she found responsible homes for each one. She’s placed her faith in me that I too will be an animal lover.

Because of Gabby’s strong feelings towards animals, she’s decided she will enter the field of veterinary practice after high school. All the times where Gabby gave up her free time to take care of animals makes her who she is today: an unsung hero. When asked if she viewed herself as a hero, Gabby replied “Not really because this is what normal for me; I’ve been doing this for so long.” Even though Gabby herself does not recognize her heroism, the rest of the Westlake community considers her to be one.

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The Senior Experience

 

Juggling the Common Application, deadlines, SATs, an endless amount of supplemental essays, and senior superlatives is hard enough, but throw in running to AP classes…senior year is defined simply as chaotic.

Your friends seem to have their lives under control; actually when it comes down to it, it seems that everyone does. That is everyone, except you. You’re scared, excited, and unsure of what the future has to offer.

What can you do at this point? It’s too early to start waiting for results, but you do have time to offer helpful advice to the current juniors. For my fellow juniors, heed the words of a senior: prepare college essays over the summer; do well on your SAT (the first time it comes around-it’s one less thing to worry about); manage your time wisely (it’s your greatest enemy); and most of all focus on good habits (they either make or break you).

Freshmen: start practicing SAT words on a daily basis; get involved in extracurricular activities; and get join at least 3 clubs that are important to your interests. Whether it’s finding a part-time job, joining a club, or helping out in the community, becoming a part of something shows that you could handle more than homework. However, if you are a sophomore or junior, it is never too late!

Colleges are interested in someone who is unique and who will contribute to their school. Whichever activity you choose, stick with it. Being able to commit to high school activities shows that you will likely commit to college ones.

Sophomores: take part in the National Merit Scholarship (PSAT) and see how well you know the words from last year’s practice efforts. Speak with friends and family about their college experiences, and ask them about the positive and negative aspects of schools they attended. Take a look at student requirements, and participate in high school classes that will help you fulfill them.

Juniors: it is time for the SAT and/or ACT; try your best and let all that follows, follow.

Last but not least, here we are, senior year. It’s your time to shine; if everything’s in order, have a wonderful experience as a graduate of Westlake.  Most colleges will let you know their decisions by the beginning of May. Once you have received the results, consider your options. Be mindful of financial need, the location, and the reputation of each college. Let each school know if you have accepted their offer as soon as possible.

Now, release a big sigh of relief. Admittedly, the application process can get a little tedious, but finishing feels great. Just sit back and relax. This is in the bag.

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Managing Time at the High School Level

Getting good grades, staying active, and keeping up with all of your class are essential when it come to succeeding in high school. When preparing for tests, you need to find motivation within yourself and develop a plan to help you do well.

All students are different: some prefer studying alone because they are able to concentrate more, while others like to study with friends. Setting up study groups at lunch or before/afterschool is an awesome idea. Not only does it help you, but other kids as well: two minds are always better than one! Noise distracts some, but on the other hand, listening to music may work for another.  Music is actually proven to motivate students and help them focus.

Always pay attention when your teacher is talking. It is easy to miss important information, such as due dates or test dates, and trust me, you never want to be surprised! When given a date for your test or project, write it down somewhere so you can remember and start studying. If you study for at least twenty minutes a day, you won’t have to cram when it comes to the day before your test; you will already be prepared. Before taking a test, always set a goal to for yourself; encourage yourself that you can do well because you can as long as you believe in yourself.

Managing your time is important to be successful academically and personally. Procrastination is not something that students should follow.  Procrastination makes students cram, which makes you stressed and anxious. Cramming all the information is not an effective way to learn. Studying, working hard, getting good grades, and enjoying high school matter because all aspects reflect your character and lead to your future.

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